How to Stream Your Desktop to Another Computer
By Deborah Lee Soltesz
Share your gameplay with fellow gamers, give a presentation to coworkers, help a family member learn to use his computer, share vacation photos with friends, collaborate with your team or demonstrate software to your customers. You can broadcast a live stream of your computer desktop to one person, a select group of participants, or a huge audience on some of the Internet's most popular websites. Get started quickly with free software and services.
Skype is a popular video communications application you can use to chat one-on-one or with a group of up to 25 people. You can share one window or your entire computer screen during a call while continuing to talk, send instant messages, and send files. People can join only by invitation, giving you control. You can share your screen during a one-on-one voice call, or during voice or video group calls. Click the "Share screens" option under the More (plus sign) menu during a call and follow the instructions.
GoToMeeting Free is a free, browser-based video conferencing service. You can quickly and easily share your computer screen, video and audio with up to three people. GoToMeeting Free does not require special software or website registration. Use your Chrome or Firefox browser to visit the GoToMeeting Free website and click the "Start a Meeting" button. The meeting will automatically start and display the meeting link to share. Click on the computer screen icon to view the sharing options, click the "Share Screen" button and follow the instructions. You may be prompted to install a browser extension to enable screen sharing.
Open Broadcaster Software
Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) is free software you can use to broadcast your desktop to popular services like Twitch, Livestream and YouTube. OBS features hardware capture capabilities, allowing you to capture and stream intensive graphics, such as video gameplay, and both desktop and microphone audio.
FFSPLIT is another free software program you can use to stream your computer screen to popular services like YouTube, Twitch and Ustream. FFSPLIT is lightweight and features broadcast production tools for integrating your webcam and overlays into your desktop stream.
More Streaming Services and Software
There is a wide variety of other free and paid options for streaming your computer screen. Similar to Skype, the free Google+ Hangouts allows you to share your desktop to participants in a chat. Livestream and Ustream both provide free software for streaming your games, desktop or webcam to those services. GoToMeeting and Cisco WebEx offer subscriptions for Web conferencing services you can use to easily stream presentations or your desktop. Wirecast is a paid software application that provides desktop and game streaming, offering a large number of built-in streaming destinations, software support and advanced features. XSplit provides free, limited versions of its powerful Broadcaster and Gamecaster software. (See Resources.)
Deborah Lee Soltesz is a web developer who has been creating websites, promotional materials and information products since 1992. Soltesz has a Bachelor of Science in computer science and engineering. She worked in earth and space science research writing for scientific and general audiences for more than a decade.